Europe still matters
US should be skeptical about predictions of the demise of its closest ally
When the Obama administration announced last November that the United States would pivot its strategic attention to Asia, few disagreed. After all, the Asia-Pacific region is where China is rising to global power and India, South Korea, Indonesia, and Australia are providing much of global growth and prosperity. After focusing on Europe for well over two centuries, the United States. would now make Asia the top priority. While this policy shift was perhaps inevitable, it played badly in other parts of the world, especially among Europeans. If the United States was pivoting east, did that mean it was also pivoting away from our oldest and best friends in Europe? Given that the European allies have supported us in most of the conflicts of the last 60 years, it clearly rankled that the United States had proclaimed they were no longer number one on our dance card. What also hurt was the persistent drumbeat of many American critics that Europe is fading in importance, a beautiful museum to visit but no longer central to the global future.